The University of Delaware’s Center for Community Research and Service takes a close look at stations sharing resources through JSAs and LMAS. The report is called “Local TV News and Service Agreements: A Critical Look,” and it shines a light on markets ranging from Denver to Jacksonville to Burlington, among others, and how they share.
Local television news still holds a pre-eminent position as a news source for the public. The managers of the SSA and LMA stations recognize that fact, most often through an economic prism. That is understandable—media firms are businesses, first and foremost. The SSAs and LMAs were implemented to increase the bottom line—to create economies of scale in which the costs of the production and the dissemination of news were structured to increase profit. The question was, and will remain, what do we get, as a public, from these endeavors.
In surveying eight U.S. TV markets…many stations owned or operated by a company share over 50% of local news content — to as high as 98%, in one case.
In Denver, for example, the survey says stations that have a joint service agreement shared the same stories 71% of the time. In Dayton, two stations under the same local service agreements aired the same stories 98% of the time